The RTHK Programme Staff Union on Saturday said the government has demonstrated perfectly what it means to be an "unscrupulous employer" – after officials refused to provide legal support to the broadcaster's freelance producer, Bao Choy, who was arrested by the police over her involvement in a television documentary.
Choy was charged earlier this week with violating the Road Traffic Ordinance in relation to searches done at a publicly accessible Transport Department database on car owner information for a programme about the Yuen Long mob attack in July last year.
The episode for the Hong Kong Connection programme, titled "7.21 Who Owns the Truth", showed that white-clad men who carried weapons gathered in town before the attack, but police officers at the scene failed to intervene. The programme also sought to contact owners of cars which were seen to have transported some of the men dressed in white t-shirts.
Following the prosecution of Choy, the Civil Service Bureau said that since she is a "service provider" rather than a civil servant, the bureau doesn't have the authority to provide any support or benefits.
The union said it had expected this, but still finds it extremely disappointing.
The union said the management should provide support to all staff regardless of the nature of their employment contracts, and questioned if the Deputy Director of Broadcasting Eugene Fung had asked for an exemption from the bureau.
It also criticised the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, which oversees public broadcasting matters, of sitting back over the case.
The police have been accused of selective enforcement, with critics claiming that pro-government newspapers have also conducted online car plate searches in the past but appear to have faced no legal consequences. The police said they respect press freedom and investigating officers were responding to complaints.
Govt an 'unscrupulous employer', says RTHK union
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